Mitsubishi Boss Confirms EVO Name Could Return on the ASX
We were all saddened by the death of the Lancer Evolution, but a new report claims that Lance Bradley, head of Mitsubishi U.K., said that the Evo nameplate may see use on a hot SUV in the near future.
According to the report from Auto Express, the head of Mitsubishi’s U.K. arm says that the company is doing quite well financially, and can now afford to take risks. One big risk on the table is using the next-generation ASX crossover as the basis for a new Evolution model.
The new ASX, which will draw its design inspiration from the XR PHEV Concept, is set to debut next year in its standard setup, but a two-wheel-drive plug-in hybrid model will also hit the market shortly after. From the latter is where Bradley feels the Evolution could be born, as the brand can use technology from the i-MiEV Evolution II Pikes Peak racecar to make this timid SUV quite the performer.
In regards to taking a risk with an Evolution-badged SUV, Bradley said, “When you’re not making money, there are things you can’t do. When you are making money you can do things that are good for the brand, but won’t necessarily make that much money. We’re not at a point where it’ll definitely happen, but we’ve got a lot of senior management talking about it.”
Reading between the lines of that quote, I feel that we are at a pivotal point for the ASX Evolution. My fingers are crossed that senior management will see the value in keeping the Evo name alive and competing in the niche performance SUV segment.
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Why it matters
The death of the Lancer Evo was a shot to the reputation of Mitsubishi in the U.S. It was the one shining star of an otherwise very boring brand, but the possibility of an Evo-badged crossover has rekindled interest in the brand here in the U.S. This will open up a whole new market for Mitsubishi, and give it a hat in the ring of buyers looking for a vehicle that can haul people and cargo, but is still a hoot to drive. The smashing success of the Jeep Grand Cherokee SRT and Cayenne are great examples of how desirable (and profitable) these fast people-haulers really are.
Let’s just hope Mitsubishi doesn’t try to go the cheap route in entering this segment.
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